…actually, it’s 50 days until the first particle collisions, but who’s counting?
Right, this is officially the last Astroengine.com article I will write about the fear surrounding the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. All future articles will be consumed by the stunning science being carried out at this historic facility near Geneva in Switzerland. I realised months ago that scientists are on a losing battle when it comes to using scientific reasoning to quell the misinformation being communicated about what the LHC can do. Firstly, micro black holes will most likely not be produced (and besides, if they are, they will only live for an infinitesimally short period of time). Secondly, stranglets and magnetic monopoles have a vanishingly small chance of even existing in theoretical physics (they are speculative at best), let alone the nigh-on impossible event any man-made experiment could ever generate them. They are hypothetical particles.
To put the probability of the LHC creating a doomsday scenario into perspective, there is a better probability that a) all the air in my office will spontaneously drift to the other side of the room, leaving me to suffocate; b) I will spontaneously disappear as every single subatomic particle in my body decides to return their energy to the vacuum, or c) our four-dimensional space (three spatial and one temporal) will instantaneously become more “space-like,” freezing us in a strange new Universe where nothing happens (sorry, I’m getting a little carried away now). The point I am trying to make is that there is a higher risk of something “strange” happening to us in the “real world” than there is of something “strange” happening to the entire planet after being triggered by the LHC…
Still, the LHC lawsuit grumbles on and the media is still reporting silly science needlessly worrying people, distracting them from what the LHC is really going to do: revolutionize science.
Now brace yourselves for the best LHC headline yet to be reported by any news website: Large Haudron Collider could spell doomsday for Earth in nine days! (yes, I can see “Hadron” was lost in translation somewhere along the line). I have no clue if this Indian news website is a reputable source, but as I’ve previously investigated, attention-seeking headlines and poorly informed articles can be very damaging and irresponsible.
Basically, the gist of the News Track India is that when the LHC goes online in 9 days (September 10th), will produce a black hole, swallowing Earth:
Some scientists are trying to stop the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) from going into operation in nine days, saying that it might create black holes which could destroy the world. – News Track India
By “scientists” the report quotes only one scientist, Professor Otto Rössler, a staunch LHC critic who believes that not enough research has been done into the possible damaging side effects of the high energy collisions in the particle accelerator. He is also a biochemist and not a particle physicist (let’s take a moment to think about that…). This news was obviously stirred up by a resurgence in the “LHC Lawsuit” headed by Walter Wagner, who set out to sue the US partners of CERN and the LHC after filing lawsuit at a Hawaiian court in March. On writing the Universe Today article about the lawsuit, I thought it was a minor curiosity, I never thought I’d hear about it again, but it just kept on coming (I even had the great chance to debate the issue with Walter on Paranormal Radio in July).
Now a group of scientists, led by Rössler, have lodged a suit to the European Court of Human Rights citing that the LHC poses a danger to the unknowing European citizens.
This time they have a new mystery phenomenon that the LHC could produce: a bosenova. Apart from sounding like a Brazilian music style, a bosenova (not bossa nova) is an event induced in a Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC), altering the magnetic field in which the BEC is located. The result is an implosion and then possible tiny explosion. Although a bosenova sounds fun,
there is absolutely no experimental or observational evidence of such an event I doubt the delicate conditions required to produce one could possibly be attained inside the LHC. [Paragraph corrected after it was pointed out that there was in fact experimental observations of a bosenova, apologies for the inaccuracy. However, I would argue that although there is actually some credence behind bosenovas (which is more than can be said for stranglets), there is little understanding about how they are generated in the first place. Just because we’re not sure what they are, doesn’t mean that the LHC will generate them. Is there anything the LHC won’t produce? – update on Sept. 3rd]
So the fear mongers are still out there, exciting the world media, and I doubt we’ve heard the last of them. Even after the first official injection of protons into the LHC on September 10th and then the first official collisions on October 21st, they will still be here making some noise. But the point is, the LHC is safe, and there is no risk of global destruction from any one of the hypothetical phenomena Wagner, Rössler et al. continue to dream up. But as the LHC is powered up and we start probing the very nature of space time, possibly uncovering the last great mysteries of the Standard Model in quantum physics, the doomsayers will begin to quieten. Then we can enjoy the results to come out of the biggest experiment ever devised by mankind and see the accelerated evolution of physics understanding on a whole new level…